Nano tanks are growing in popularity due to their convenience and affordability. They look neat and can be placed pretty much anywhere.

But you still need to maintain them and keep the water clean.

This is why choosing the right nano protein skimmer is absolutely essential if you want to keep enjoying your tank. The fact that your tank is smaller doesn’t mean it doesn’t need to be taken care of!

What Is A Nano Protein Skimmer?

A nano protein skimmer is a protein skimmer that’s specifically designed to handle nano tanks. While normal skimmers are larger and pack a bit of a punch (in order to handle more water), nano protein skimmers are built with smaller tanks in mind.

This means they’re smaller, quieter, and in general pretty much unnoticeable. When you’re going for a nice clean effect to compliment a desk or room, this matters a lot.

The reason you need one for your tank is simple, they do a fantastic job of keeping your water clean by removing organic materials and waste. If ignored these materials will negatively affect the quality of your water and harm the aquatic life in your tank.

So how do they work?

Nano protein skimmers get rid of these materials and waste by carrying them to the surface and collecting everything. This process is done by releasing microbubbles which organic waste will stick to.

This might seem like a weird concept at first, so let’s unpack it for a second. Through the magic of adsorption, all of the unwanted materials naturally gets stuck to the outside of the microbubbles and surface tension keeps them there.

Once this happens they’re naturally carried to the surface of the water where they are brought to the collection area. Since you run a nano skimmer all day, the water is being cleaned constantly.

Each nano skimmer varies slightly in the way they handle this process, but this is roughly the way it’s done for each of them. Understanding this is important for picking the best nano protein skimmers and deciding which is the perfect fit for your tank.

We do most of the work for you, but the more you know the better.

Our List Of The Best Nano Protein Skimmers

Finding the best nano protein skimmers and reviewing them wasn’t as difficult as some of the other buyer guides we’ve put together. In fact, we were actually pretty surprised how easy it was to find the best options!

Here’s why:

The best nano protein skimmers all come from reliable and trustworthy manufacturers that have had success with other aquarium products in the past. The market is also still smaller than standard skimmers, so there are fewer options available.

This means when we spent our time looking at nano skimmers it didn’t take long before the clear winners separated themselves from the pack.

But don’t worry, our research process was still as thorough and intensive as ever and we’re very happy with the list of best nano protein skimmers we put together. So without further delay let’s get started!

1. Tunze 9004 Nano Protein Skimmer

The Tunze 9004 Doc Nano Protein Skimmer is one of the most talked-about skimmers on the market and is rated for tanks from 10 to 65 gallons. If you’re looking for an extremely high-quality nano skimmer that can accommodate a variety of small tanks without any problems, the Tunze 9004 is a great choice.

The design of the Tunze is great because it has an extremely small footprint but still packs a punch. The design of this nano skimmer is what makes this possible.

Most of the crucial pieces are tucked away on the inside of the body with space-saving in mind. This gives you a very slim and sleek rectangular design that doesn’t distract from your tank.

When it comes down to its ability to clean the water in the tank, the Tunze 9004 is a definite winner as well. The foam production is great and it also has a built-in feature that will help make sure the unit doesn’t create too much foam either. This saves the owner time and provides peace of mind that everything is running properly while they’re away.

Another feature of this nano protein skimmer is the extremely effective surface skimmer design. This functions a bit like a classic protein skimmer but in a much smaller body. This makes the Tunze a nano skimmer that cleans water and removes unwanted organic materials as well as it’s larger counterparts (pound for pound).

The mounting system is versatile and has a neat magnet system that you can use to find a place for this nano skimmer in pretty much any small tank. We love how this was designed and think you’ll definitely appreciate it during the installation process.

The reliability of the 9004 is another factor that really sold us on this nano skimmer. We didn’t hear many complaints about maintenance issues, and Tunze offers a two year manufacturer’s warranty to go along with your purchase. When you add this up it makes it a very safe buy.

Speaking specifically to tank size, if you’re looking for a 30-gallon protein skimmer this is a great choice too. It can fit that tank size while having more than enough power to get the job done. While it can operate well for a variety of tanks, this is a very common size and fits very nicely with the specs of the Tunze 9004.

2. Eshopps Nano Protein Skimmer For 10-35 Gallon Tanks

The Eshopps Nano Protein Skimmer is another standout on our list. The value you get with this nano skimmer for the money you get is absolutely fantastic, and it’s been on the market long enough to boast an impressive track record of happy customers.

The footprint is quite small at 5 by 2 by 4 inches which means you’ll have plenty of options for where you can put it. It can also be placed in your sump or in the tank itself. Even in the nano tanks scene this amount of flexibility makes the entire experience a whole lot nicer. The fact that it can function as a 10-gallon protein skimmer also makes this great for people with tiny tanks!

As far as cleaning efficiency goes, the Eshopps nano skimmer won’t let you down. Once you get it up and running (which is a little lengthy) you can pretty much expect it to make an immediate impact on the water quality in your tank.

The reliability of this mini protein skimmer is another major benefit in our eyes. This baby will run like clockwork for you once you have it set up and the settings dialed in. There’s a reason why this particular model continues to fly off the shelves after so many years. It just works.

Another bonus to this nano skimmer is the energy efficiency it offers. Too often you have to make the choice between product effectiveness or energy efficiency. Fortunately, that’s not the case with the Eshopps nano skimmer.

The Sicce pump that comes with this skimmer is extremely energy efficient and will help you keep costs low and stress on your breakers to a minimum. This is great news for many people who are just getting started with their own nano tanks, and also for experienced reefers who are already consuming a ton of power running multiple tanks.

3. Mame Nano Skimmer

When you look at the nano protein skimmer by Mame the small size and design stand out right away. If you want to maximize the space that your tank has to offer, this might be the best choice for you.

The body of the Mame nano skimmer is remarkably slim which means it can be tucked out of the way and not distract from the aquatic life in your tank. We’re talking about a footprint of 3.9 by 3.9 by 11.4 inches here!

Another thing we love about the Mame nano skimmer is the aesthetic of the whole device. It’s a pleasure to look at and the clean design means you can put it in any tank and it will look fantastic.

The simple glass body Mame went with is something we wish other manufacturers would try with their own products. Even the clip you use to mount the nano skimmer on your tank is clear, so it really blends in!

As far as functionality and cleaning efficiency goes, this mini protein skimmer doesn’t disappoint there either. The Mame nano skimmer creates air bubbles in the glass body which bring foam and unwanted waste to the top of the tube. From there it’s all brought to a separate collection container which is housed away from your tank.

Despite being so small and rather quiet, you can expect this nano protein skimmer to do a fantastic job when it comes to keeping your water quality in perfect condition. One thing to note is that you’ll need to get an air pump if you decide to pick up this skimmer, so try to find a quiet one!

4. The AquaMaxx Ws-1

It wouldn’t be an aquarium product review list if we didn’t have something from AquaMaxx! If you’re looking for a nano protein skimmer that packs a punch and comes from a long-trusted manufacturer, you might want to consider the AquaMaxx Ws-1.

This nano skimmer mimics the design of their larger protein skimmers which have performed quite well for years and years. Don’t fix what isn’t broken right?

In terms of cleaning efficiency, the Ws-1 is probably as good as it gets when it comes to handling nano tanks. As long as you stick it in a tank under the 65-gallon rating, it will do its job with ease.

Not only that, but this is a nano protein skimmer that will last you a long time too. AquaMaxx is a reliable manufacturer and since the skimmer won’t be challenged by your nano tank, it will likely give you plenty of solid use before you need a replacement.

The biggest issue with this nano skimmer is the fact that it needs to be housed in a sump. For a lot of nano tank owners, this makes it a no-go. One of the main reasons why people get small tanks in the first place is for convenience and a small footprint, so sumps are not very common.

However, if you do have a sump with your nano tank and want something that can remove organic materials with ease you should definitely consider the Ws-1.

Which Is Our Favorite?

Above we’ve listed the four best nano protein skimmers you can get for your tank. All of them have their own strengths and weaknesses, but they’re all fantastic overall.

But which one do we like the most?

We spent a lot of time comparing these four against each other to try and pick a single winner. We looked at reliability, price, customer feedback, and more.

And we ended up with a tie.

The Tunze 9004 and Eshopps nano protein skimmers are both amazing products that we feel totally fine recommending as equals to any nano tank owner (as long as your tank fits the gallon rating of course).

With the Tunze 9004 nano skimmer you get a well-rounded piece of equipment that takes care of business, and won’t take up much space in your tank. All of the internal components are well made, don’t make a ton of noise, and fit into a well-designed body. You’ll be very pleased with the water quality in your tank if your pick up this nano protein skimmer.

The Eshopps nano skimmer offers great cleaning while being remarkably energy efficient. The skimmer has a small footprint and is well-designed to look great inside your tank too. It’s a breeze to set up and you won’t have to constantly fiddle with it to get the results you want.

Both of these are the best nano protein skimmers in our eyes. We highly encourage you to check out the Tunze 9004 as well as the Eshopps nano skimmer and choose which one you think is the best fit for you.

A Popular Nano Protein Skimmer To Avoid

During our research process, we came across a lot of recommendations and reviews on the Fluval Sea PS1 nano protein skimmer. Because of this, we figured we would quickly share our opinion on this nano skimmer since we didn’t include it in our list of recommended products.

Based on the people we’ve spoken to and the feedback that’s floating around about the Fluval nano skimmer, the whole reason this get’s a lot of orders is the price. Compared to a lot of the other products on the market this nano skimmer is pretty darn cheap.

However, there’s a reason for that.

We’ve heard from multiple people who have had this skimmer die on them in under a year. Not only that, but the quality of the bubbles and ability to tweak the output is limited at best.

We think that it’s always better to buy a quality nano protein skimmer even if it isn’t a budget buy. You’ll spend less time tinkering with it, it will be cheaper for you in the long run, and you’ll have the confidence that the aquatic life in your tank will thrive in fantastic water quality with minimal nitrates and unwanted organic materials.

A Few Common Questions

Nano protein skimmers are fairly straightforward and easy to use compared to some of their larger counterparts. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t some common questions that new owners tend to have.

We thought it would be helpful to address them here so you can feel more confident when you start needing to use your nano skimmer.

How long does it take to start cleaning?

For the most part nano protein skimmers will take about a week to fully break in and start cleaning your tank efficiently. It’s normal for all nano skimmers to have a “break-in” period so this isn’t something you can avoid.

We recommend that you read the instructions that come with your nano skimmer to make sure you understand the proper steps to get it up and running. There you’ll be able to find out what to do and how long it will be until your equipment is running at full capacity.

How do I keep it working?

Maintaining your nano protein skimmer is not as tricky as you may think. Because they are so small you won’t have to spend as much time working on them as a normal, larger skimmer.

However, there are still a few things you’ll want to make sure you do to keep your nano skimmer running well. The first is making sure you empty the collection cup or container (however yours is set up) every day. The reason for this is that nano protein skimmers don’t have a lot of space to store the skim they bring out of the tank. If this gets backed up it can lead to larger problems.

You also want to keep an eye on the pump and hose that pulls in the water. If this gets clogged up your nano skimmer won’t be able to run properly. It’s another easy thing you can check periodically to ensure that your equipment runs smoothly, and for a long time.

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